Ansel And Me

I put a PBS documentary about Ansel Adams on my Netflix queue a few months ago. Netflix doesn’t stock this title… and after a few months, it looked like they never would.

Enter eBay. The disk arrived Thursday and I watched it last night.

Beyond being a photographic master, Adams was an emotionally complex man. His childhood was marked by family financial problems and the San Francisco earthquake. He was conflicted between being a concert pianist and taking photos. He had both a wife and mistress.

I’m glad that I got to understand more about Adams, but I wish this doc would have given me more about his technique. How did he do what he did? Other than a passing mention of red filtering, there was little to help me as a photographer extend Adams’ work.

I didn’t even see my favorite Ansel Adams photograph, a non-panoramic documentary portrayal of a California farm worker’s family.

There was one thing I took from the show – Yosemite. I knew it was beautiful. I had no idea it was that awe inspiring.

Now I’m obsessed with Yosemite. I’ve got to go. It’s not quite that simple.

Yosemite is different at different times of the year. That especially applies to its waterfalls. Many start flowing with the snowmelt in the spring and stop during the dry California summer.

Summertime crowds at Yosemite are large. I’ve got to avoid that.

With the problem of TV rating periods added to the equation, April or possibly early June, seem best.

I’d like this to be a real photography trip. That means lots of walking with my photo bag and a tripod. It also means a methodical approach to the shots I take.

Maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew? Right now, it sounds like a plan.

6 thoughts on “Ansel And Me”

  1. he pioneered something called the zone system…if you ever run across a documentary covering that, pass along the info – I’d love to see a simplified version of that concept that my pea-sized brain can comprehend.

  2. Definitely early June. April is snow and/or mud. Go midweek – full days June 3, 4 and 5. If the weather is with you it’s incredible – if it’s not your pictures may be even MORE memorable. And after that, it’s time to continue on to New Zealand, maybe early next December, or else mid-January. South Island is an endless Yosemite.

  3. I concur with Woody. Go in June. It’s not fun to realize that you haven’t packed your long underwear or the winter sleeping bag when you are about to pitch your tent in loosely packed 6 inch snow base. I thought I was safe because it was May!!! We ended up renting a cheap cabin because of our lack of winter camping gear.

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